‘Very Nice to See that Level of Craft is Growing,’ Interview with Founders of Any Robots06 May 2019
Like many of us, Anna and Pavel Ogol love huge robots. Besides, they can produce extremely realistic costumes of well-known characters for events, cosplay, and video filming. Their creative portfolio comprises over a dozen of impressive works including Megatron, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Iron Man.
Founders of Any Robots from Ivano-Frankivsk became participants and lecturers at the jubilee WEGAME 5.0 festival. Software engineers Anna and Pavel Ogol not only told the audience about the creation of transformers but also brought the newest costumes to the festival. We asked the owners of the craft studio how they turned their hobby into a job and about peculiarities of costumes they produce.
Respondent: Anna and Pavel Ogol (А.О и P.О.)
WEGAME: How old is your company and why do you specialize on robots?
А.О.: We are Anna and Pavel Ogol from Any Robots. We produce costumes of robots, astronauts, dinosaurs, and other tailor-made high-tech craft. Our company has been working in Ukraine for four years. Overall, Pavel has been working in this field for 12 years and for the last 6 years he has been dealing namely with costumes of robots and their production.
P.О.: At first, I found a job as a chief engineer at the firm that produced costumes of robots abroad. Later we decided to open our own studio in Ukraine and materialize our vision of costumes, how they should look like, how a person should move wearing them.
WEGAME: What were the first costumes produced at your studio and what are their distinctive feature?
А.О.: Bumblebee, a yellow robot. It is positive and kind, people and especially children love it. Then we made a whole range of other costumes.
P.О.: Our second robot was Optimus Prime, and then – a special female robotic costume. The girl that wears this costume helps us a lot at exhibitions, because she is a middleman between people and robots. She brings together our two worlds.
А.О.: Further, we needed an evil robot, so we made Megatron. We managed to make it very stylish and charismatic, and besides it is very big and cool. The costume turned out rather difficult to design in a way that a person could control it.
P.О.: It is scary and attractive at the same time.
А.О.: Further, we developed space characters, Iron Man, white robotic astronauts for business projects, advertising purposes. And various other costumes – customized and driven by demand of the audience. Costumes for business are our main trend. Some of them allow going to the stage for several times, and the others are practical – you can work for a long time wearing them, and use them for commercial purposes. For example, we have developed astronauts basing on the Interstellar movie. This is our newest project.
Our task was to prepare an astronaut for a video studio and we decided that it would be interesting to make its modern version. When we are thinking about Mars, space flights, we want something stylish. For this reason, we took the concept of astronauts from the Hollywood film Interstellar. It is a popular movie and many people recognize these costumes. We have recently unveiled them for the public for the first time.
WEGAME: What projects were the most difficult to realize and why?
А.О.: We always use some new technologies, new equipment. For example, in the project we brought to WEGAME, the twinset itself is rather complex. It took us more than 600 work hours to create it – and that is only to make a pattern. Besides, we spent some time on the production of armored parts, heavy helmet. This helmet is bent in three places and we made four variants of it, and only the fourth helmet turned out to be really cool and convenient. We thoroughly elaborate on every part of our costumes.
We had a seven-meter dinosaur. Perhaps, it was the biggest costume that a person could wear. It weighs around 50 kilograms and nevertheless a person can walk in it for one hour. There are costumes made basing on 3D models provided by our customers. In this case, we create every detail in the same way it was designed.
P.О.: For example, if there is an advertising video with a robot in the form of the animated 3D model, our task is to implement it in a costume that people will be able to put on. And not only to put on but also to interact with the audience during promotional activities.
WEGAME: How promising is it to earn money in Ukraine on craft? Is it difficult?
А.О.: I think this is a very promising industry, because companies are developing, they communicate with the audience through events, they need to show their product – technological, cool. Few people can make a cool product so that a well-known brand could order and use it for several times, making it good-looking. I believe that we have room to develop, and there is a demand for it.
Moreover, when we show of what level this product can be, companies think: it is cool, that is exactly what we need, we were looking for it, but we did not think that it existed. But it exists! And people are very responsive. If we talk about the feedbacks of the public about robots, modern characters, the children that still do not know how to speak are already dancing with robots on promotions. It is also interesting for people around 30 years old. There are even grandparents that react vividly, that come up and say: how cool that you did it, we thought that we would never see anything like that, there was no such thing in our childhood, but you give us a fairy tale, sincere emotions. That is, this product is intended for the widest audience; it acts on everyone very positively and gives joy.
WEGAME: Where are most of customers that order quality and sophisticated costumes from – Ukraine or abroad?
P.О.: Now we have grown so that most of the orders come from abroad, but for this to happen, we had to declare ourselves, show our level, attend exhibitions, establish international relations. That is, we started working mainly in Ukraine, now more than 50% of orders are already from abroad.
А.О.: In Ukraine, costumes are also in demand: in 20 cities there are agencies that have ordered our products. They can be popular everywhere if they are well organized, made, and presented.
WEGAME: How do you assess WEGAME 5.0, what did you like most of all?
А.О.: I like it very much, a very positive audience, we know many cosplayers from other festivals. They come to us and recognize us, which is nice. The festival is very cozy, home-like, many video games – this is great! Here you can play at very cool computers, find some interesting hardware.
It is very nice to see how the level of crafting is growing here. We also travel to other countries and notice that there are not always many decent costumes abroad, even where there are 10,000 participants. And here there are not so many participants, but there is something to see.